Live From FOWA : Kevin Rose Tells It All, Showdown on Digg

Future of Web Apps kicks off with Kevin Rose Keynote, The Future of News The Future of Web Apps (FOWA) kicked off today at the ExCel centre in the City with Kevin Rose, founder of Digg.com (introduced as "A man who needs no introduction" and "The internets first true rock star") kicking off the event talking about the Future of News.

Although the title of the talk was the Future of Online News, Kevin mostly spoke about Digg.com. Clearly, having taken even more investment recently, Digg has plans to place itself as "the" online news pivot.

In the past, the popular (and ubiquitous) "Digg Button" that we now see on most news website, just pumped up a story in popularity.

Going forward, the guys at Digg are making the "Digg Button" do more. They¹ve already seen a significant uplift in site usage by enabling the sharing of content (once you digg it) with other like minded people in similar automatically created clusters (not just your friends), with the aim of creating a better / more intimate user experience.

It allows users to know that they¹ve just shared their article with X number of people or prevented people from seeing an article when its buried (this is clearly something that Digg are still trying to get right ­ sadly, active users can easily bury a really cool piece of content as our friends and ChannelFlip.com know when they got over 400 diggs on an interview video with Leo Laporte and never made it to the home page ­ why? Because of the "haters" as Will Harris puts it).

The big news is that Digg.com will be providing an API tool to publishers to help them analyse their content and then specifically recommend articles back to users, based on what they digg or bury.

Kevin also let it slip that they have plans on enabling advertising programmes based on the use of the digg button, which he says will mean digg users will see more advert which relate to their interests.

At question time, Kevin got tied up when it came to a question from The London Paper about semi-naked ladies and internet porn ­ Will there be a cluster of porn fans on Digg?

Clearly Digg¹s focus on world domination means scalability issues, and Kevin said that it had been difficult to do everything in real time and that as a result his developers have moved out of PHP and into Python (which co-incidentally is our favoured development environment at the ITProPortal.com, which is built in Django). A live episode Revision3's Diggnation show will be recorded on Friday night when FOWA is over and links to the sessions will be displayed later.

On a side note, Excel might not have been the best venue for such a prestigious event as it is bogged down by terrible transport system, planes flying over, noise from adjoining theatres.